Ricotta & Feta Poppers

Ricotta & Feta Poppers

A scoop of fresh ricotta and some crumbled feta combine for a rich and tangy foil to these mini sweet peppers. Roast until the cheese is beginning to brown for a perfect side dish for any meal!

Ricotta & Feta Poppers

This past year I began making my own ricotta cheese, which turns out is not only pretty easy to do, but the result is amazing … rich, creamy ricotta that you can eat by the spoonful all by itself. But don’t stop there … this cheese is delicious as an appetizer, but also works great in the filling for homemade lasagna or mixed with feta cheese stuffed in these peppers! Be sure to make your ricotta ahead of time and if you don’t have time, just use store-bought ricotta for this recipe. 
Mini sweet peppers are so beautiful and colorful and they are absolutely delish roasted with a scoop of fresh ricotta and some crumbled feta. The tangy flavor of the feta is the perfect foil to these mini sweet peppers. Roast until the cheese is beginning to brown for a perfect side dish to any meal or the main course for any vegetarians in your crown! You can prepare the peppers a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate them until you’re ready to bake them for dinner. 
Even though making your own cheese at home sounds a bit daunting, this ricotta recipe is super easy and really fun to do. It takes about 20 minutes or so to heat the milk and cream to the right temperature and then it’s just a matter of how firm or soft you want your cheese to be that will determine the total time involved. Whole milk makes much better ricotta than low-fat milk, and it’s best to find one that is not ultra-pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurized milk is not recommended because it has already been heated to a very high temperature of 280 degrees Fahrenheit which prevents it from curdling properly. Normally-pasteurized milk has been heated to a much lower temperature of between 145 and 161 degrees. You need the curds and whey to separate for making ricotta, so just stick to normally-pasteurized milk for this project.

Ingredients

  • 24 mini sweet peppers in multiple colors red, orange, yellow
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese see recipe below
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Homemade Ricotta

  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice strained pulp out
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar can also use white wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a baking sheet or casserole dish with PAM.

Prepare the Peppers:

  • Lay peppers on a cutting board. Cut a small triangle on the top side of each of the peppers (see photo above) with the wide part at the top near the stem, leaving the stem intact if possible. Remove the triangle and set aside for your salad tonight. Now, scoop out any remaining seeds with a grapefruit spoon. Set aside.

Filling:

  • Mix all remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Assembly:

  • Using a small spoon or pastry bag, stuff peppers to the top of the opening with the cheese mixture. Place peppers, stuffing side up, on your baking sheet or casserole dish.
  • Bake at 400 F for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.
  • Serve piping hot!

Homemade Ricotta Directions

  • In a medium-large pot, slowly heat the milk and cream together until it reaches 185 F, stirring occasionally along the way. The best way to measure the temperature is to clip a candy or instant-read thermometer to the side of the pot when you first begin the process.
  • While the milk mixture is heating, line a colander with cheesecloth and sit it over a bowl. Set aside. Mix the lemon juice and vinegar in a small container.
  • Once the temperature reaches 185 F, remove the pot from the heat and immediately stir in the salt. Slowly drizzle the lemon juice and rice vinegar over the top. Stir gently with a silicon spoon or spatula until the curds begin to form.
  • Ladle the curds into the colander and roll any loose edges of cheesecloth over the top of the cheese. Allow to drain until it reaches the consistency you desire. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours, depending upon how firm you like your ricotta. Store the cheese in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

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